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DHCP Overview of Client and Server Responsibilities
(Page 1 of 2)
DHCP is the newest and most current
TCP/IP host configuration protocol. However, as we saw in its overview,
it wasn't built from scratchit was designed as an
extension of the Boot Protocol. In many ways, DHCP is like BOOTP
with more, and this can be seen in the basic setup of the protocol
and how it works.
Both BOOTP and DHCP are designed
based on the
common TCP/IP model of client/server operation.
In any interaction, one device plays the role of client and the other
server. Each has specific responsibilities and must send and receive
messages following the protocol described in the DHCP standard. The
difference is that where BOOTP involves relatively little work for servers
and clients and uses a simple single-message exchange for communication,
DHCP requires that both servers and clients do more, and uses several
types of message exchanges.
DHCP Server Responsibilities
A DHCP server is a network device
that has been programmed to provide DHCP services to clients. The server
plays a central role in DHCP because DHCP's main function is host configuration,
and the server is what configures hosts (clients) that communicate with
it. On smaller networks there may be only a single server to support
many clients, while larger networks may use multiple servers; regardless
of the number of servers, each will usually service many clients.
The following are the key responsibilities
of servers in making DHCP work:
- Address Storage and Management: DHCP servers
are the owners of the addresses used by all DHCP clients. The server
stores the addresses and manages their use, keeping track of which addresses
have been allocated and which are still available.
- Configuration Parameter Storage and Management:
DHCP servers also store and maintain other parameters that are intended
to be sent to clients when requested. Many of these are important configuration
values that specify in detail how a client is to operate.
- Lease Management: As we saw in the previous
section, DHCP servers use leases to dynamically allocate addresses to
clients for a limited time. The DHCP server maintains information about
each of the leases it has granted to clients, as well as policy information
such as lease lengths.
- Responding To Client Requests: DHCP servers
respond to different types of requests from clients to implement the
DHCP communication protocol. This includes assigning addresses, conveying
configuration parameters and granting, renewing or terminating leases.
- Providing Administration Services: To
support all of the above, the DHCP server includes functionality to
allow a human administrator to enter, view, change and analyze addresses,
leases, parameters and all other information needed to run DHCP.
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The TCP/IP Guide (http://www.TCPIPGuide.com)
Version 3.0 - Version Date: September 20, 2005
© Copyright 2001-2005 Charles M. Kozierok. All Rights Reserved.
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